Deal opens Chinese market to Okanagan cherries

Okanagan orchardist believes the deal will relieve some pressure on local markets

Local cherry growers are looking forward to new opportunities in a new market this season, after the provincial and federal governments co-operated to sign a ground-breaking deal with China last week.

An agreement signed between the governments of Canada and China in Beijing this week commits the two countries to work on access for a number of specific Canadian foods, including cherries. British Columbia produced 94 per cent of Canada’s sweet cherries in 2010, with top export markets including Taiwan and Hong Kong.

“We are very pleased to see this progress on access to China for B.C. cherries. A final agreement has the potential to immediately garner $10 million or more in cherry sales to China,” said Christine Dendy, a director of the Okanagan Kootenay Cherry Growers Association. In 2010, B.C. growers exported about $29 million worth of cherries, including more than $7.5 million to Taiwan and $5 million to Hong Kong.

Greg Norton, a third-generation orchardist who has been growing cherries in the Okanagan for more than two decades, said he is excited about the possibilities.

“It gives us an alternate market. I think the whole industry will feel the effects of this,” said Norton. “It is not a simple country to get into. But having the prime minister signing agreements should reverse the flow of bureaucracy, it’s now coming from the top down, which will encourage the local bureaucrats.”

While exporting to China brings with it some challenges, like high fruit standards and keeping the cold chain intact during the three weeks it could take to ship the cherries there, Norton said there are growers able to meet those challenges.

“Not every operation is equipped or prepared to make those kind of decisions to get that product out there. People that are able to do that will be shipping to China instead of locally, so that should relieve some of the pressure on the local markets,” he said. “It may be a little more indirect for some cherry producers, but overall it will be a positive.”

As part of the B.C. Jobs Plan, the provincial government is focusing on building export markets for B.C. food, encouraging international consumers to look to B.C. for high-quality and trusted foods. Don McRae, B.C.’s minister of agriculture, said expanding exports to Asian markets is a key theme of the new Agrifoods Strategy, which is expected to be released this spring.

“B.C.’s excellent farm products are already in high demand in China. This clearly shows the importance of the additional cargo flights to and from YVR,” said Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Blair Lekstrom. “This agreement signed between the governments of Canada and China is an exciting step forward to opening more markets in Asia.”

In July 2011, Canada’s first dedicated cargo flights to Mainland China began from YVR to Shanghai. The three-times-per-week flights typically deliver B.C. seafood and could also carry cherries and other fresh foods. B.C. has posted record exports of agrifood products to China in each of the last three years, with exports topping $100 million for the first time ever in 2010.

 

 

Just Posted

Penticton man pleads guilty to creating a chid porn forum

Tyler Walker was instrumental in creating a forum online and was involved in moderating others

Accident blocks traffic

Accident in Penticton on Duncan Avenue

Donate your parking fines to 100 Homes

Parking tickets issued for the remainder of the month are now payable to the housing initiative

Quiet time for Santa at OSNS

Quiet Santa visits the child and youth development centre again this year.

Penticton ANAVETS members want information on club closure

Club members haven’t been told when, or if, their club will reopen

Me Too At Work: Sexual assault and harassment in the B.C. workplace

Introducing an in-depth look at who is affected and what can be done

More than 20,000 pounds of garbage removed from riverside homeless camps

Two camps taken down last week on the banks of the Fraser and Chilliwack rivers

Suspect in Revelstoke standoff killed himself: RCMP

Mohammadali Darabi, suspect in the Calgary homicide of his roommate, was stopped in Revelstoke

Clinton visits Vancouver, applauds Trudeau, celebrates Democrats’ win in Alabama

Clinton told crowd she cheered when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed the country’s first gender-balanced cabinet.

VIDEO: Salt Spring Islanders ferry piano to their floating home

Everyone enjoys a little music on the water, but not everyone has a piano on their boat

Bomb detonated in Kamloops neighbourhood

Kamloops RCMP are investigating after an improvised explosive device was detonated Wednesday morning

No More Shootouts: Strong defence will be Canada’s backbone at world juniors

Head coach doesn’t want a situation where a hot goalie or a lucky bounce can determine a team’s fate

Proposed snowmobiles along Sicamous roads concern RCMP

RCMP, ICBC and province not yet on-board with proposed off-road bylaw in the B.C. Interior

‘Assemble your own meal’ kits grow into $120M industry in Canada

Kits offer a middle ground between eating out and grocery shopping

Most Read